My Courses

I teach MBA and Master of Finance classes at Peking University and CEIBS in China. The below courses are full semester courses.

I have also taught these as shorter 4-5 day courses at universities around the world (Poland, Italy, Thailand, Brazil, etc.). And I do executive education at companies and corporate seminars.

If these courses are of interest, please don’t hesitate to contact me at info@towsongroup.com.

Course 1a: Digital Strategy: How to Win and Lose Big in Digital Transformation and Disruption

In perhaps the biggest leap forward since the industrial revolution, businesses in China, Asia and globally are being transformed by new digital tools, technologies and data. These include everything from artificial intelligence and big data to smartphones, the Internet of Things and smart devices. This is a global phenomenon but in many sectors it is happening more rapidly and more powerfully in China.

The three Ds of disintermediation, disaggregation and dematerialization promise to upend value chains and transform the world of work, moving up to 40% of industry revenues to digital attackers by 2030. For example:

  • Digital connects supply chains globally, compressing margins and transferring power to multi-sided platforms that disintermediate industries.
  • The sharing economy is changing the economics of asset-intensive businesses, transforming capital-intensive manufacturing into services and aggregating data across the information economy.
  • Everything from books and music to drivers are dematerializing and going virtual. With this disruption, attackers are capturing the lion’s share of the rent with dramatic implications for industry profitability and company revenues.

This class brings together the best of current strategic thinking on digital transformation and disruption. It includes strategy frameworks for digital transformation and disruption, case studies and lectures from industry-leading companies. These include both global best practices and China-specific situations and approaches. Key industries of focus are automotive and mobility, retail and consumer, healthcare and logistics. The course delves into the competitive strategy that underpins the economics of digital strategy and looks at some of China’s boldest and most successful digital companies.

Overall, this course brings together the best of current strategic thinking on digital transformation and disruption across industries. The goal is for students to get ahead of the curve on this phenomenon and be able to apply this knowledge to industry and company analysis.

Course 1b: Advanced Digital Strategy and Asia’s Latest Technology Trends

This courses builds on the frameworks of the Digital Strategy course. It is mostly company-specific and analyzes the strategic decisions of China/Asia’s leading digital companies. It is mostly cases studies and is based on the frameworks of the first course.

 

Course 2: Valuation Like Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett has famously said “If I ran a business school there would be only 2 courses, how to value a business and how to think about markets.”. This course is based on the first part of that quote (my Private Equity courses are based on the second parts).

The course is a finance elective with a simple goal. After taking this course, a student should be able to read a financial statement, look at a real estate project or look at a random company and be able to figure out what it is really worth. And he or she should be able to do this with only a pen and paper. Warren Buffett does not use Excel or a computer. And neither do the students in this course. Every session, students take apart 1-2 companies and come up with valuations for them – with no computers allowed. They then present their answers to the rest of the class.

Valuation is about measurement, projection and uncertainty. It involves building models, so it has a quantitative focus. But it also involves understanding the dynamics of an industry, which is mostly qualitative analysis. Different investors use different approaches to valuation and we will touch on different approach. For example, value investing guru Seth Klarman (Baupost) uses liquidation value and reversion to the mean. Real estate investors tend to focus most on exit prices. And Warren Buffett uses mostly replacement value and discounted cash flows, with a strong emphasis on longer term value (and areas where accounting does not capture true economic value).

This course is a valuation workshop. And it is designed to complement traditional valuation courses. Having taken valuation previously is not required.

 

Course 3a: Private Equity Investment Committee

PE Investment Committee is a finance elective focused on making private equity and other private investments and acquisitions. This course is a simulation and is designed to complement traditional private equity and venture courses. Having taken private equity previously is not required.

Each class is similar to the meeting of an investment committee of a private equity firm, with the students acting as the committee members. In each session, the committee discusses and decides on 1-2 deals. The goal of the course is for students to make actual investment decisions every session, to present these decisions to the rest of the class and get feedback on their decisions.

Overall, this course creates an exercise in which students must make decisions on what they would do with real-life investments. The course is a place that trains private equity and other deal-makers – and also provides an opportunity to network.

Prior the first class, students will be required to watch 3-5 videos and complete online exercises. This will cover a lot of the basic frameworks and will enable more class time to be spent on cases (and less on lecturing). This class does not cover valuation techniques due to time constraints. We use multiples only.

Course 3b: Advanced Private Equity Investment Committee

This courses builds on the Private Equity Investment Committee course. It focuses on more complicated companies – especially software, technology, and internet companies. And companies dealing with digital transformation and disruption.

 

Course 4: Legends of Investing: The Strategies of Warren Buffett, Seth Klarman and Others

This is a finance elective that details the investment strategies of 15 of the most successful investors of the past 100 years. It begins with Warren Buffett, Ben Graham, Philip Fisher, Mario Gabelli and Seth Klarman in the West. And then shows how these Western strategies were adapted for success in China / Asia and other developing markets by investors such as Tom Russo, Tom Barrack, Cheah Chung Hye and Prince Alwaleed.

The goal of this course is for students to master the strategies of the master investors. And to be able to spot their use in current events and to draw on them for their own projects. This course is appropriate for undergraduate, masters of finance and MBS students.

 

Course 5: Doing Business in China and Strategies for a Changing Asia

This is a strategy course about the frontiers of business China. It includes topics such as urbanization, consumer China, digital China and manufacturing. This course was the basis of my One Hour China books – which have been on the bestseller list for +4 years.